April 6, 2008 Subject:
Erwin Carlé in the French Foreign Legion (1904)
This hold on-to-the-edge of your seat adventure would make any James Bond proud. Yet this is not fiction.
It is the biographical account of Erwin Carlé,pen-name Erwin Rosen,who, down on his luck in 1904, joins the
French Foreign Legion. He had seen previous military action with the US Army Signal Corps during the Spanish-
American War at Signal Hill In Cuba ( 1898).However, he was not prepared for what came his way. The
adventure begins with being shipped to Sidi-Bel-Abbès, Algeria, which served as the Foreign Legion's training grounds
until 1962. Whether he is describing the legion's principle of "March or Die" or the petty thievery among the men, which apparently
exists to this day, one quickly realizes that this was a living hell. How will Carlé escape this misery and inhuman existence is
what keeps the reader on edge.
On the philosophical side , his Appendix entitled "J'accuse " is still as relevant today as then.
The 1998 movie "Legionnaire" with Jean-Claude Van Damme illustrates some of the accounts given in the book by Erwin Carlé.